Choosing A Weed Eater: Tips On Using String Trimmers In The Landscape

(Image credit: AlexRaths)

Many gardeners know more about weeds than weed eaters. If this sounds familiar, you may need some help choosing a weed eater, also known as a string trimmer. Read on for string trimmer information and tips about using string trimmers in the landscape.

String Trimmer Information

A weed eater is a hand-held tool consisting of a long shaft with a handle on one end and a rotating head on the other. The tools are sometimes called string trimmers or line trimmers because they cut down plants with rotating heads that feed out plastic string. Regardless of what you call a weed eater, they are very useful garden tools for those with large backyards or lawns. However, the tools can also be dangerous. It’s a good idea to learn about using weed eaters before you start taking out weeds.

How to Choose a Weed Eater

Choosing a weed eater involves figuring out what you need and selecting among the many models out there. First, decide if you’ll feel better using weed eaters that operate with gasoline or those that are electric. How you are going to use the string trimmer in the landscape can help with the gas/electric question. Gasoline powered weed eaters are more powerful and may be better for you if you expect to have to plow down high weeds. Newer model electric weed eaters have more power than older ones, however. Another issue with electric weed eaters is the power cord. The length of the cord limits the flexibility you have when using string trimmers in the landscape. While battery powered weed eaters are also available, they can be very heavy. Battery life is another limitation. Another factor in how to choose a weed eater is the size of the motor. When choosing a weed eater, keep in mind the size of your yard and the kind of plants you are going to be cutting with it. Gardeners planning on using weed eaters on a small square of lawn will not need the most powerful motor. Remember that powerful weed eaters can injure you seriously. They can also take out plants you were not intending to mow down.

Tips on Using Weed Eaters

Once you have gotten beyond the question of how to choose a weed eater, you must deal with the issue of using string trimmers in the landscape. The idea is to take out the weeds you want cut but not to injure other plants, pets, or humans. First, be sensible about what you wear when weed whacking. Think heavy boots with good traction, long pants to protect your legs, work gloves, and eye protection. Second, stay far from pets, people, and precious plants and trees you don’t want injured. Even hitting a tree trunk a few times with a weed eater cuts the bark and allows pests and disease to enter. Turn on the engine when you are ready to work, keep the cutting end below knee height, and turn off the engine whenever you are not actually working. Keep the machine clean and in good working condition.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.